One of the first things you notice about pieces created by St. Louis artisan Sara Zigman of sarabeth designs (formerly TLZ Designs) is color. Her work is bright and bold. “Color is like my lifeblood,” Zigman says. “It’s an immediate energy boost to me . . . When it’s done right, it’s music.”
Zigman is launching her new website, sarabethdesigns.com, soon and with it a line of functional (and non-breakable) home décor and tabletop products, including candleholders, coat hooks, bookends, dinnerware, table linens and 3-by-3-inch cubes that can be displayed on a table or bookshelf—anywhere they can be picked up and touched. She sells this functional art as well as public art installations.
“Because I’m a single mom, everything I do has to have a little bit of practicality in it,” Zigman says. She likes the idea of children feeling that art is approachable, that they can play with it and be inspired by it.
On the flip side, Zigman also imagines her cubes being part of a 3-D art installation in places like a corporate lobby or a health care facility, “maybe mounted on a corner,” she says. “Imagine three sides painted in a warm tone and the other three sides in a cool tone, so depending on how you enter the room, it can look completely different.”
Color isn’t just a key feature of Zigman’s art; it’s what inspires her. Patterns too. Sometimes even a shadow she sees on the ground is enough to send her racing to her studio to start designing.
In the past, Zigman hand-sketched and painted all of her ideas, but lately, nearly all of her work is done digitally. There are still times, however, that she has the urge to get out her paint and brushes. “It’s a piece of me that I can’t live without,” she says.
Despite her obvious talent, Zigman hadn’t planned for a career in art. She studied business and was hired as a buyer for May Company. After giving birth to triplets and later her son, Noah, she headed in a new direction. She began creating children’s murals and personalized gifts, which led to her designing children’s furnishings, bedding, hand-painted furniture and portable murals.
Now with sarabeth designs, Zigman is expanding her work to include art installation. Butterfly benches, a piece commissioned by KDG for The Euclid building in the CWE, will be placed outside of a Central West End apartment complex, and an 18-inch sculpture she designed is being considered for a 10-foot sculpture in Coral Springs, FL. Ultimately, her plan is to offer “mini-versions” of these art installation designs on her website.
With all of her artwork, Zigman is working with St. Louis based companies for fabrication as much as possible. “My whole mission with sarabeth designs is to be able to create a design house based here in St. Louis and keep hiring more St. Louis creatives.” She envisions putting out three to four collections a year and having installations that she designs and installs across the country. “All based here in St. Louis,” she says, proudly. Visit sarabeth.designs on Instagram to see her latest work.